How To Write A Recommendation Letter

Knowing how to write a recommendation letter is important, and we decided to help you through this process.

Consider the following before you accept a request for a recommendation:
  • Have you worked with or directly observed the applicant?
  • Do you know relevant strengths and skills you can personally elaborate on?
  • Do you have specific examples or anecdotes that reiterate or point?
  • Can you provide positive feedback about this individual?

Requesting a letter – Speak with them first about your request, then send a formal email with more details. Include your resume, job description, submission details and requested deadline. You might also send them the template that’s included below. This can help lessen their workload and make them more likely to agree to your request. Make your request at least two weeks before the letter is due to give ample time to complete the letter as they may be working on several at the same time.

You should review the job description to understand what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Use it to guide what you should include from their resume and your personal experiences working with them.

Tips for writing any type of recommendation letter

  • Keep it positive. Your letter should confirm that you believe the person is a strong candidate for the job with no reservations. Avoid any comments that might suggest otherwise.
  • Use a standard business letter format and tone. You can use the template below or a standard business letter format to write your letter. Your tone should also remain formal and polite.
  • Focus on the most important qualifications. For the highest impact, discuss two or three of the candidate’s achievements that are most relevant to the job description and provide specific examples to illustrate their fitness for the role.
  • Follow the request instructions. Ask the candidate how you should submit your letter. Strictly follow the instructions and deadline request to avoid negatively affecting their application status.
Before you start
  1. Review the necessary information
    • What they’re applying for
    • Addressee
    • Resume
    • Due date
  2. Introduce yourself and explain your professional relationship
  3. Specific examples of the candidate’s accomplishments (numbers speak louder than words)
  4. Explain what the candidate will add to the new company or university
  5.  Include contact information

Format for a letter of recommendation

Your letter of recommendation should include five items:

  1. A brief introduction that states who you are, your relationship to the applicant and your personal experience or expertise.
  2. An overview of the applicant’s strengths as you’ve experienced them and as they relate to the recipient.
  3. A personal story that elaborates on one to two traits the applicant possesses.
  4. A closing statement that summarizes why the individual you are recommending would be a good fit for the opportunity.
  5. A signature that includes your name and contact information.

How To Write A Recommendation Letter For A Scholarship

Being asked to write recommendation letters for students’ scholarship can be overwhelming. If you want to help your professor write a draft letter and have your professor revise and edit it as they see fit. They will love you for it and you will have control over what goes on your letter:

  • Use letterhead and add your personal information (full name, title, school name, etc.) in the top left corner. 
  • Fill the whole page (at least 300 words) with an introduction, two to three paragraphs, and a conclusion. 
  • In the first paragraph, introduce your student, specify the scholarship for which they are applying, and share details about the nature and length of your relationship. 
  • In the body paragraphs, describe the ways your student is suitable and deserving of the scholarship. 
  • In your final section, pull everything together and emphasize your student’s strengths as well as the reasons why you are endorsing them. 

Recommendation Letter For An Employee

If the candidate hasn’t provided you with an up-to-date resume and the job description, ask for them so you are fully prepared to write the recommendation. You can use the resume to get a full understanding of their experiences and achievements.

Strengths and SkillsStudentEmployeeCoworkerFriend
Analytical thinkingxxxx
Open to feedbackxxxx

Not sure how to start? Here are some suggestions on How to Start A Paragraph

Here are some templates